Scores of youngsters in Taipei have a chance to taste FIFA World Cup fever and elite club training this week and next week at the first Manchester United Soccer School program presented in Taiwan.
Youngsters aged six to 16 are to “live, train and learn to play the United way” at two three-day soccer camps, with the coaching staff, equipment and development philosophy all provided by Manchester United.
The first camp began on Wednesday and finishes today, while the second camp starts on Monday and finishes on Wednesday.
The camps are being held at the Taipei Stadium, with youngsters put through their paces and running regimes on its outdoor grass pitch.
At the camp’s opening ceremony on Wednesday, sports supermodel Liya Wang, program coach Mick Bennett and officials from main sponsor, Federal Tyres Taiwan, gave the trainees tips on how to improve their skills.
“We teach the kids the philosophy of Manchester United soccer. Players must put in the effort, work together as a team and have belief in themselves,” said Bennett, a former professional player who is also a UEFA-licensed coach with 22 years of experience.
“At the camp, we teach them how to play the attacking game, and also how to play in the midfield and on defense. The youngsters also learn about the lifestyle of soccer players both on and off the pitch, including diet, nutrition and training,” he added.
Program officials said they had been overwhelmed by the response for the first program, so more camps are being planned for northern, central and southern Taiwan next year.
The program was run in Japan last year, and the organizers plan to run it in China as well next year.
Wang said she has followed all the World Cup matches.
“I’m supporting Holland, because they have coach Louis van Gaal and star striker Robin van Persie from the Manchester United club,” Wang said. “So I hope to see Holland win the trophy this time.”